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It Was Hard Watching AFCON From Home, Super Eagles’ Maduka Okoye Says




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Out of favour Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye has revealed that it wasn’t a pleasant experience that he had to watch the 2023 AFCON from home.

Maduka Okoye was seen as the best thing to happen to the Super Eagles of Nigeria goalkeeping department but suddenly fell off the radar due to inconsistent performance.

The 24-year-old who made his international debut for Nigeria on October 13, 2019, lost his place in the team after the 2021 AFCON in which he made a blunder against Tunisia in the round of 16.

Hence, most football enthusiasts from Nigeria blamed the Udinese goalkeeper when the country crashed out of the tournament thanks to the 1-0 defeat in the round of 16.

Since then, he has been in and out of the squad as coach Jose Peseiro preferred to use Omonia keeper, Francis Uzoho ahead of Maduka Okoye.

Ultimately, coach Jose Peseiro left out Okoye in his 2023 AFCON squad and went with Stanley Nwabali of South Africa’s Chippa United.

The Portuguese tactician depended on Nwabali who gave a very good account of himself as he led the Super of Nigeria to the AFCON final which they lost 2-1 to the hosts, Ivory Coast on February 11, 2024.

“I am very well now. I feel 100 percent. The national team is an important thing for me and I want to return as soon as possible,” Okoye told his club, Udinese, official website.

“It was hard watching the Africa Cup of Nations from home, but this is football.”

Note that Maduka Okoye left English Championship club Watford for Udinese on August 24, 2023. Since then, the German-born goalkeeper has made 10 appearances in all competitions in which he conceded 14 goals and kept three clean sheets.

If he returns to the national team anytime soon, he will have to battle Francis Uzoho and Stanley Nwabali for the first-choice goalkeeper role in the team.